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Fair and Balanced Discussion from Southern Oregon

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Forum Aftermath - my "Fair and Balanced" view gives it to Sherman! 

Monday preview from WashBlog here, then event coverage from the PI and from Eli at The Stranger.

In my admittedly tilted view, the night went to Bill Sherman. And I'll step back from the fact that he is my friend and I am in Seattle for the purposes of assisting his campaign for a few weeks and give my impression of the whole field from the dispassionate "theater critic" part of my brain.

I took a ton of notes, and had hopes of liveblogging the event, but no wireless at Town Hall, so "there is too much. Let me sum up," as Montoya says.

I looked at four factors in trying to see if one of this group o six could stand out - Substance (actual evidence of some brainpower that can tackle the issues and has ALREADY managed some solid thought on what needs doing and how it might be tackled), Articulation (can this person stand in front of a group and sound like they know what they are talking about in way that we can clearly understand them), Presence (Do they have that intangible that makes you want to believe they can accomplish what you hear from them, a charisma, gravitas, something...), and Passion (how energetic and committed do they sound and how does that energy infect the audience)

On this set of criteria, the youth were the clear winners. Sherman's only real competition on Substance was Jim Street, who is in the bottom half of the pack on each of the other three criteria. Sherman and Jamie Pederson are neck and neck on Presence and Articulation, and Pederson stays close on Passion, but almost entirely on his committment to marriage equality. There were other moments when he was clear, but drab. The Passion catagory also must garner a mention for Stephanie Pure, who is dynamic and energetic, and on the issues that are in her comfort zone stood up well against the rest of the panel. But there were areas clearly WAY out of her comfort zone, and it showed.

Lynne Dodson drew loud applause, a sign of the number of supporters she already had in the room, but not (I think) evidence of earning any real converts. She certainly worked the "I'm a teacher" angle, reminding us of that on several occasions (to the point I, a teacher, grew tired of it). She trailed Street and Sherman on Substance, though not by much due to her strength on the critical education issues. Her Presence was middle of the pack, and her Passion bolstered by a vocal group of supporters in the hall.

Dick Kelley ran afoul of the clock often, and it crippled his overall effort. He was also almost a "One Note" act, with a revisiting of Campaign Finance corruption souring the mix with nearly every answer. His best moment was when a doozy of a question from Frank Chopp where Kelley's opening response was "Help me, Jesus." Kelley does have a decent resume, but he was not compelling in any sense of the word. Substance was decent, based on resume, but he hid it away as he instead railed on finance reform. Presence and Passion were NOT there for him last night, as his battle against time limits crippled his ability to deliver the compelling close of most of his anecdotal content.

Jim Street is clearly experienced and knowledgable. He has a speaking style that drives the director in my insane. I lose the final 3 to 5 syllables of nearly everything he says and since he sometimes speaks in fragments, context clues aren't available. I am pretty sure two seperate sentences ended with the word "Automobile", but I only got it once, since the second time, the context was "Automobile, Automobile, A'dim'bul." His delivery was dry and unengaging. He didn't stand until the closing statements (nor did Pure). By contrast, Dodson and Sherman were up for every answer (though Dodson called attention to it being because she was a teacher...jeez... Lynne it's OK to just stand and talk, you don't need to make excuses...Oh. Wait. You were afraid we forgot you might have worked in a particular field once upon a time. The rest of the panel started getting up as the night wore on. Street may actually have the win soley on Substance, but being a distant 4th on Presence, 5th on Passion and dead last on Articulation makes it hard for me to say he is "obviously qualified", though he tried to imply Frank Chopp had said very nearly that earlier in the evening.

I might include some specific notes in a seperate post later.

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